Let me just start by saying that having the money to pay someone else to clean for you is a privilege, and I know it. Cleaning is hard work and like most “domestic” tasks (see also: child-rearing, caring for the eldery, etc) not much valued in our society (with either prestige or compensation).
My very first, non-babysitting job was cleaning my Dad’s office (he owned a small architecture firm). Every weekend, my dad would drive me over, and I would work, cleaning the bathroom and the little kitchen area, emptying the trash cans, vacuuming the floors. As the weeks wore on and the thrill of a paycheck wore off, I did an increasingly crappy job at the cleaning. I swore there, at the ripe old age of 14, that someday, when I was able, I would hire someone to clean my house.
That desire has never wavered. Cleaning has never grown on me, although I do appreciate cleanliness more than I used to. And this year, that day came! Jami and I looked at our house, looked at the hours in our day, looked at the struggle we had cleaning around Frances (both in terms of space and nap/bedtimes), looked at our budget, and decided that this was our year. And what a glorious year it has been. Every other Wednesday, Lupe comes and cleans our house. She is wonderful, she leaves our house sparkling and smelling amazing. She is worth every cent we pay her – and more. She makes our lives better.
And, while I feel a little awkward writing a post about how we pay someone to clean our house, her work and all the work of women and men who clean and care for our houses, our offices, and our public spaces, should be celebrated. I shouldn’t be over here pretending that I am doing it all. I’m not. I have help in so many ways, and this is one. Cleaning is hard work and it’s GOOD work. It’s important. Cleaners, janitors, and custodians make all our lives better. Lupe, in particular, improves mine!